Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) was born a slave on a Virginia farm. Later freed, he headed and developed the Tuskegee Institute and became a leader in education. Widely considered a spokesman for his people, he emphasized social concern in three books as well as his autobiography.
Louis R. Harlan, born in Clay County, Mississippi, in 1922, is Professor of History at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is the author of Separate and Unequal (University of North Carolina Press, 1958) and of a two-volume biography of Booker T. Washington (Oxford University Press, 1972, 1983). He is the editor, with Raymond W. Smock, of The Booker T. Washington Papers (13 vols., University of Illinois Press, 1972-84). He has been awarded the Beveridge Prize, Bancroft Prize, and Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Washington.